Wednesday, October 7, 2015

So many things to catch up on - No.1 A Hobbit Party

   A long time ago - back in August, our youngest son turned 10.  He wanted a birthday party - his first sleep over party - and he was not sure if he wanted a "theme" or just to have some guys over.  Theme won out and it was a hobbit party.  We incorporated some of the  characters/adventures from Tolkien's The Hobbit - a life long favorite of all in our family, and some of the essence  of The Lord of the Rings.
  Here is what we did.  Preparations:
  • made  "lembas bread" - a sweet sort of biscuit, sort of short bread 

  • made paper "leaf wrappers"  as they had been wrapped that way when given to the Fellowship by Galadriel of Lothlorien
  • created a map of Middle Earth to  help these hobbits follow the quest to gain troll treasure, vanquish orcs,  escape spiders, and obtain the Ring of Power
  • made sign posts and posted them all over the farm to  give the questers points on their map to find
  • bought candy with gold wrappers to create the troll treasure 
  • Bought glow stick  daggers to simulate "Sting" - so they had to glow blue!
  • made walking sticks from  straight branches
  • Made backpacks for our trusty hobbits to carry their bounty in
  • printed  orc faces and tied them to trees in Mirkwood
  • filled water balloons
  • made spiders from balloons and crepe paper
  • made golden rings of power from locking washers from tractor Supply and some gold spray paint
  • placed water bottles to cool in the stream in Mirkwood for the hobbits to drink at the end of their hiking
  • iced a cake on which I was requested to  draw Smaug, Gimli's ax, Legolas's bow, the staff  of Gandalf (the white),  Sting, and Sam's frying pan!
  • Strategically placed the back packs,  daggers, walking sticks, the treasure, the orcs, spiders and Rings
  • The boys started out in The Shire and then followed their maps until the ultimate goal of the Ring was achieved.  

    Starting out from The Shire

    With backpacks, walking sticks and Sting -
    Map in hand, they were on their way
    Climbing the hill to the Trolls Trove
Entering Mirkwood as dusk fell - what lies ahead?

Are those SPIDERS?
Well, sort of!  (Abi and Alex, pre-party,
hanging "spiders" from the trees in the clearing.) 
These can be killed with Sting.  No lazy lobs here!

In our Middle Earth, the only way to kill an orc is with water balloons
pass through all the challenges and take a Ring

Successful hobbits heading back to the Shire

Our fellowship!

Sting, staff, axe, bow, Ring, Smaug and frying pan - only somewhat soft due to the heat!
After the quest was completed, our hobbits (along with another party goer who arrived after the farm fun)  were ready to  roast hot dogs over the fire and have tater tots ("Potatoes - boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew"), fruit and of course the requisite s'more.  They then played night games - capture the flag and such, racing around the darkened yard with their daggers glowing.  Finally, bedded down in the living room with their sleeping bags and troll treasure, they watched the Hobbit movies - or at least  most watched the first and two stayed awake through the second.  
     Since they were stuffed after all the food that night, we had cake for breakfast along with eggs and bacon.  Over all, a lot of work, but the boys had such a good time, I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

making mistakes, making changes

      We are not farmers from a long line of farmers.  Well, actually, that is not true.  My dad grew up on a farm, my grandfather was a farmer, and many of my cousins are farmers.  My husband's father spent several years as a child on his grandfather's farm, and my husband's grandmother and her people were farmers.  But we are removed from it.  We are learning from books, and blogs, and trying to keep things running as best we can.  We make mistakes.  We read.  We make changes as we learn.
   Today we are dealing with a chicken  who is getting picked on so badly she is bloody.  I have painted her wounds with Blue kote - antiseptic that makes her back purple. I am tempted to remove the wounded chicken from the coop, but I have not got a separate place for her that I can keep warm, and from past mistakes we have learned we cannot bring birds home where our dogs will want to "play" with them.  I think we may be over crowded in the coop.
      We need to expand our barn, or build a new one, for the sheep we are going to breed this year will double, treble, or possibly even quadruple the size of our flock.  We have ten sheep - seven of whom are female - and most of whom, we wish to have progeny from, to increase said flock and to sell some of them to others who enjoy their lush, soft fleeces.  Building a barn would be optimal, however, one must have money for that, and as anyone who knows farmers understands, most of us do not have funding for more than feeding our animals.
      After research and reading and classes, I see we need to  plow up several acres of  pasture and replant - our farm has exceptionally poor forage right now. Brassicas are in our future, as are some warm season grasses.
    The first two years have been about getting organized, gaining some livestock, and hiring  contractors to help tame some of the springs on the farm, and learning all we can.  They have also been about exploring our land.  Sitting and watching fireflies, and fireworks, and listening to the coyotes sing, and the sheep chatting in their pens, and the hens gossiping. Next year will be about change - and maybe, if we are lucky,  growth.